The sense of anticipation is growing, with the first ever winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or set to be unveiled in Zurich on Monday. Brought about by the fusion of two prestigious titles in the FIFA World Player of the Year award and France Football magazine’s Ballon d’Or, the honour will crown a gala evening celebrating the game over the past year. As ever, FIFA.com is on hand to bring you all the latest news and interviews.

The event has just begun with a press conference involving nominees for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football awards. Fatmire Bajramaj, Marta, Birgit Prinz, Pia Sundhage and Silvia Neid (editor’s note: Maren Meinert cannot attend) will share their thoughts on being shortlisted for their respective prizes, reflect on the year gone by and look forward to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™.

Next, the FIFA Interactive World Player of the Year will be named and that ceremony will also be streamed live on FIFA.com, followed by the men’s press conference at 15.00 on the dot as candidates for the FIFA Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award have their say. Lionel Messi will undoubtedly recall his joy at claiming the player’s title for 2009 while Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Vicente del Bosque are sure to savour another glance back at Spain’s 2010 FIFA World Cup™ triumph.

All concerned will then take advantage of a break in proceedings to change into evening dress for the Gala itself, allowing FIFA.com to publish quick summaries of the two press conferences for anyone who missed the live video.

The main event
Between 16.30 and 18.00, Zurich’s lucky inhabitants and any fans having made the trip to the eastern Swiss town will be able to get a glimpse of the stars on show as a red carpet is unfurled in front of the city’s Kongresshaus. It will be a unique opportunity for a close-up look at the players, coaches, former icons and previous award winners present, and once again FIFA.com will be on hand to conduct interviews and bring you a taste of the building atmosphere.

With the entrées out of the way, at 19.00 the stage will finally be set for the main course – the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala, which will be streamed live on FIFA.com. In addition to the titles mentioned above, a whole host of further honours will be bestowed, not least the FIFA Presidential Award and FIFA Fair Play Award, while the FIFA FIFPro World XI will reveal the year’s 11 best players as voted by their peers and the FIFA Puskas Prize will reward the scorer of the finest goal of 2010 according to FIFA.com users.

After the show, which is scheduled to end at 20.00, the players and coaches will speak with the press, and unsurprisingly FIFA.com will be there yet again to record their reactions. As usual, you will be able to read the evening’s winners give their first impressions almost as soon as they have spoken their minds.

Once the action-packed day has ended, it will then be time for the protagonists to catch their flights home and for the decor to be packed away at the Zurich Kongresshaus. On FIFA.com, meanwhile, it will be the moment for all of you to tell the world your thoughts on the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.